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CU: Time Warner Cable/Comcast Merger Bad For Consumers

Consumers stand to lose out if Comcast and Time Warner Cable are allowed to merge, according to Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. 

Comcast filed its formal plan for merging with Time Warner with the Federal Communications Commission today. 

“Consumers are fed up with Comcast and Time Warner, which already rank towards the bottom of the barrel when it comes to customer satisfaction,” said Delara Derakhshani, Consumers Union policy counsel.  “This merger is a bad deal for consumers that would give Comcast even greater control of the market and little incentive to improve prices or customer service.  It’s no wonder consumers don’t think this merger is in the public’s interest.” 

Comcast and Time Warner Cable earned low customer satisfaction scores in the latest Consumer Reports survey of consumers about their experiences with television and Internet services.  Both companies were rated near the bottom of all telecom companies included in the analysis.  In particular, Comcast and Time Warner received poor scores for value for the money and low marks for customer support.

Comcast is already the largest cable and broadband company, while Time Warner is the No. 2 cable company and third biggest broadband provider.  Combining the two companies would give Comcast access to more than two-thirds of cable subscribers and control over nearly forty percent of broadband customers.

On top of that, Comcast owns a wide assortment of content and television channels as a result of its previous merger with NBC Universal.   By owning a massive network of cable and broadband pipelines and significant content, Comcast would have the ability to control the speed, quality, and type of programming for an unprecedented number of consumers.

“Comcast’s dominant position in the marketplace and incentive to favor its own content will give it enormous power,” said Derakhshani.  “That means prices will likely continue to climb, consumers will have fewer choices, and customer service will get even worse.”